Best Homeowners Insurance For People In The USA (2018)
Our research team spent a lot of time finding the very best homeowners insurance, but we hit one snag when we were setting out our results, and that is that the state you live in may affect the insurance deal you get. We had to slice a few of the state-specific insurance companies off of our list. This article offers the best homeowners insurance that applies to the widest possible group of people in the USA. I have used a pros and cons format to help you while you are shopping around.
Shopping Around Means As Many Soft Searches As You Can
Stop relying on articles that offer you the cheapest homeowners insurance because it is very difficult to follow through on that promise. A company that offers your neighbor a great deal may offer you a lackluster deal for a whole variety of reasons. That is why you cannot trust websites that claim they have the best home insurance deals.
The only way to get the best deal is to visit as many insurance websites as possible and as many comparison websites as possible and to run soft searches on your credit. A soft search will not affect your credit rating.
Do not use your primary email address when shopping around, and do not give them your real phone number (neither your home phone or mobile phone number). One of the downsides to shopping around online is that your information will be sold to spammers. That is why you shouldn’t use your primary email address, and why you shouldn’t give away your phone numbers. Only give your information to the insurance company that you actually choose to be your homeowners insurance provider.
Beware Of Unfair Negative Reviews
Even the very best homeowner insurance companies have a slew of negative online reviews and you should take some of them with a pinch of salt. It is true that some insurance companies set out unfair terms and payment rules so that genuine victims are not paid a claim. Such victims should go online and vent their anger with negative reviews. However, there are some people who do not understand the terms of their policy and go online to vent their anger when it is not the insurance company’s fault.
For example, quite commonly a homeowners insurance policy will say that they do not cover mold and mildew. Things like this are often considered to be signs of neglect, which is why insurance companies add clauses relating to neglect in their contracts. I have personally seen numerous online reviews where people complain that they had mold and their insurance company wouldn’t pay out. I have even seen negative reviews where claims for leaky pipes were paid, but where the claimant was angry because the mold the leak caused was not paid for. Just be wary of negative reviews because some of them are unfair.
A Note About Affiliate Money
Check out the URLs on our links to the insurance companies and you will see that they are clean links that are free of any affiliate code. We are not being paid in any way for recommending the insurance companies that are listed on this article. We make our money from the adverts you see on our pages and from those list things that you see jammed between the paragraphs.
Best Homeowners Insurance – USAA
USAA was started by service members and is for service members. They offer homeowners insurance for people serving in the marines, army, coast guard, air force, the reserves and the national guard. If you are former military or have an honorable discharge, then you may use USAA too. You may also be able to continue using USAA if you are a widow and an unremarried former spouse of a USAA member. There are also some cases where midshipmen and cadets may use USAA homeowners insurance too.
USAA – Pros
- The rates are not on the low side, but you do get to customize your policy a little more than with other lower-priced insurance companies. The polices on offer may offer a better fit for your particular circumstances, especially if your circumstances are atypical, such as if you have a private collection, quite a few pets, or are moving into a home you are converting.
- Some states are going to get far cheaper rates than others. This is both a pro and a con because in some states you will get very good rates, and in others you will be paying three or four times more than people in other states. Get a quote from USAA and hope for the best.
- Read up on how to deal with insurance companies in situations where your property has been damaged because there are a few people who have had damage occur to their house and they were able to not only get their claim paid, but were also able to improve and update the thing that was damaged.
- USAA seems to offer better deals for low-value properties. It is just something we noticed, but when we submit applications for low-value properties we get far better rates and options than middle or higher valued properties.
- Some people have had work done and then applied to USAA to have them pay for it and USAA have said yes. I am not recommending that you have the work done before you speak to USAA, but all is not lost if you had the work started prior to contacting USAA.
- USAA is not pushy about its products and their advertising methods are not too bad. Plus, despite the fact that USAA has some fair and unfair negative reviews online, their service is not a bad one. There are plenty of happy customers out there who have had their claims paid in full. Part of the process is learning how to manipulate the situation in a way that best serves you. Learn as much as you can about dealing with insurance claims so that your inexperience doesn’t work against you.
USAA – Cons
- The contractors that USAA sends will often find any excuse to do work in order to be paid by your insurance company. However, when they send out inspectors, they will use any excuse in the book not to pay you. Look over your situation in full and remove any evidence that may give USAA an “out.” Seriously consider reading all the small-print text that USAA sent you when you signed up for your policy. Learn as much as you can before the inspector comes out.
- Some of the online user reviews for USAA are obvious fakes. There are people writing that their experience with USAA was an adventure, and how the team were professional, helpful and caring in a way that screams a marketing professional wrote the review.
- USAA has its fair share of dumb and crappy customer support workers. It may be worth your while calling them every other day with the hopes that you get a good quality customer support worker. If you get a crappy one, then chalk it up to experience and try again in two days. You can call every other day just on check up on the progress of your claim if you feel things are moving a little slow.
- USAA can make life difficult for the contractor, which usually results in your repairs reaching a stop or stall after each step. Do what you can to help your contractor deal with USAA, and keep on at USAA if the work has started to slow or your claim/processing has slowed to a stop.
- There are some people who get a good deal with USAA and some who get an atrocious deal. Even if your insurance coverage is a perfect fit, do get quotes from other insurers because the same cover may cost you a lot less elsewhere. Do not think that just because the company caters to military personnel that you are getting better rates that civilians because many times it is not the case.
- High value properties are rarely covered. They pushed our applications to another company. We thought it was a bait-and-switch at first, but USAA have actually refused to renew policies of long-time customers because their houses have a high value.
Best Homeowners Insurance – Travelers
Travelers is the sixth-largest home-insurance company in the USA, which means they are very big when you consider the size of their competition. There are two good reasons why Travelers is on our best homeowners insurance article. The first is because they offer fairly low rates with decent coverage, and the second is because they insure people in locations where other companies either will not touch or where they charge a fortune.
Travelers – Pros
- A great deal of the people who use Travelers say that the amount they got from their claim was about what they expected. There are very few people who claim they got significantly more than they expected, but there are also very few who say they got far less than they expected. This is a testament to Traveler’s claim-paying policies and the way they manage their customer’s expectations.
- Travelers does have a negative online reputation, especially for homeowners insurance, but compared to other homeowner insurance companies it is about average. It isn’t much of an upside, but having an okay online reputation when compared with others in the homeowners insurance industry is noteworthy at the very least.
- We were unable to definitively prove this point because our research team cannot operate from every state, but we have plenty of anecdotal evidence of Travelers offering homeowners insurance in places where other insurers will not touch. There are stories of people being forced to pay for flood insurance with other companies where Traveler’s allow you to generate quotes without flood insurance.
- Travelers offers insurance to a wide range of people in different circumstances. They do things such as insure people in flood zones by giving them insurance without forcing them to take out flood insurance too. Travelers will also insure buildings that make up an estate, which is sometimes a problem for other insurance companies. If you are finding it tricky to get insured by other companies, then Travelers is worth a shot.
- The Travelers company can be very speedy in cases where inaction or slow action will cause more damage. Things such as broken roofing may be handled more quickly because there is always the threat that excessive rain will cause further damage and result in a larger claim.
Travelers – Cons
- If you wish to cancel your policy, then they are going to make you struggle and suffer. Their customer support representatives are strongly urged to convince you to stay with the company, and if you do not, then the support workers make it difficult for you to cancel with the hopes you will give up trying.
- Don’t expect a lot from the Travelers customer service department. Their staff are trained to be very polite because they think that is what makes good customer service. This means that the agent on the phone will happily apologize a lot, but will often make the same mistakes and same promises over and over again without correction.
- The Travelers auto-renew policy is on the verge of being outright illegal. We may be wrong, but it is our understanding that a customer’s homeowners insurance may expire at the contract’s end date and that is the end of it. However, Travelers will try to set your account to auto-renew your policy, which means if you do not carefully monitor your settings, then you may have your insurance renewed automatically. Also, the company tries to trick you by saying you have to comply to their auto-renew policy and that you will be charged late fees if you do not pay after the renewal.
- Travelers offers cheap homeowners insurances, and the coverage is not bad, but beware of their small print. There are quite a few things they enter into their contracts to help them get out of paying claims. There are regular things such as not paying for termites and not paying if you have a dangerous dog, and there are sneaker things where what you may naturally expect is not given freely.
- Some of their adjusters are complete idiots and/or are very unreliable. It varies from one to the next, but a poor quality adjuster is going to make your claim very difficult. Look into the rights that your state offers and find out if you can hire a public adjuster to come in and work your case more fairly.
Best Homeowners Insurance – State Farm
State Farm is a very large insurance company that soaks up a large part of the homeowner’s insurance market. They have a number of different policies you can take up, and you may be able to get a better deal if you have other policy types with State Farm. Some customers in some states get as much as 22% off their insurance if they take State Farm’s multi-policy discount. Plus, State Farm will happily offer you a high deductible if you wish to save money on your monthly premiums.
State Farm – Pros
- State Farm is a great option if your home contents are very valuable. This is especially true if you have thousands of dollars tied up in your home electronics. The basic home coverage is about average, but the coverage they offer for the contents of your house is of great value.
- Some people are able to get discounts under certain circumstances. You may have to make inquiries personally, but customers have been known to get discounts if they have home security devices, fire sprinklers, certain roofing materials, a claim-free history, utility rating plans. If people have multiple accounts with State Farm, then they may get a discount for that too.
- There are no predetermined limits on how much State Farm will reimburse you for lost, damaged or stolen electronics. The only downside is that your valuation and the valuation that State Farm offers may differ significantly. For example, if your $800 PC is stolen and it had $3000 worth of software on it, then you will not receive $3800 on your claim.
- State Farm has a home index home inventory tool. It allows you to list all the things you have in your house along with proof of purchase and things of that nature. The more up-to-date you keep it, then the faster your claim is processed when you make a claim. You may even upload pictures as proof, which will again help to dramatically speed up your claim if you ever need to make one.
- There are tools and calculators on the State Farm website that may help you understand your insurance costs and may help you lower your insurance bills and associated bills. The tools/calculators will also help you when you are completing your budget.
- I am not going to be silly and tell you that your claim is more likely to be paid if you use State Farm, but State Farm is a large and established company. What reassures me is that they offer slightly less coverage than their nearest competitors. It seems to me like the actions of a company that pays out on its claims. Plus the company has $15 billion in assets, so they will have a hard time pleading poverty when it comes time to pay your claim.
State Farm – Cons
- Many home insurance companies will not cover you for earthquakes and floods automatically. In most cases they will insist that you take an out extra policy. State Farm covers you for disasters, but they will not pay out for damage due to an earthquake or a fire.
- It is true that State Farm offers discounts for different things, but the discounts you receive will depend upon the state you live in. Some states are going to get a better deal than others if they deal with State Farm.
- State Farm tends to offer a replacement policy rather than a cash/money policy. This may not suit some people. Also, in some states there are no stand-alone policies for things such as jewelry, which means you have to insure your entire house if you want your jewelry insured.
- Like many of the insurance companies on this list, there are some states that really get a rough deal. Some states receive very poor rates from State Farm. Maybe they are not terrible, but some states seem to receive over-inflated prices when compared with other local insurance companies.
- State Farm agents are trained to upsell. Their business model starts with drawing people in with their best deals and then upselling. Most of their profit is made from upselling, so expect a few hard upsells when you deal with their agents.
- The coverage that you get with State Farm is not as bulky as with some other companies, but if you are experienced in the insurance trade then you will know it is good value. The trouble is that most people are not experienced in the insurance trade, and State Farm makes it all the more difficult to get a clear view of what you are getting in a way that helps you compare it with others. In other words, start will fog the issue in a way that makes comparable price checking more difficult.
Best Homeowners Insurance – Nationwide
Nationwide is on this list because it is a trusted insurance company with its own set of reasonable discounts and a solid online reputation. It is also a good company to look into if you are shopping around. In my opinion, Nationwide treats its new customers better than its regular customers, but there are plenty of exceptions. For example, if you simply keep renewing your policies every year, then your rates will probably climb up. However, if you ruthlessely seek out the best deals and refuse to sign until they offer you similar prices to their nearest competitor, then you may enjoy their brand-named coverage at less-than-your-neighbor prices.
Nationwide – Pros
- There are a number of different insurance discounts that may apply to you if you take insurance with Nationwide. Most of them are standard discounts, such as protective device discounts, claims free, age of constructed discounts, and multi-policy discounts. What you are eligible for will vary from state to state.
- See and manage your accounts on desktop computers or mobile devices. Nationwide is a large company with a varied online reputation. The decision makers are farce, but you can get paid if you play everything by the book. They run a very bureaucratic system, which is something you can exploit by checking the rules and following them.
- Nationwide has a policy perk/program where you are about to receive a partial payment for repairs or for replacing items. You may receive the partial payment prior to your claim being completed.
- Nationwide prices are relatively cheap when you consider that they are a very large company, and they have a reasonable range of add-ons that allow you to better control your policy and your coverage.
- New customers seem to get the best deal with Nationwide. It is their longest customers who experience the rate hikes. Newer customers of just a few years will get the best rates. After five years, you may start to see your rates climb a little.
Nationwide – Cons
- Nationwide posts their own positive reviews online, which is fairly common, but they are so bad at it that I feel compelled to mention it here. They are even dumb enough to put soundbite slogans and taglines into their user reviews. Would you review Kelloggs cornflakes by saying, “Theeeeerrrree Great!!!” (Well, maybe you would, the fact is that Nationwide blatantly posts positive reviews about their own service).
- Be careful if you have more than one policy with Nationwide because their admins and customer support may easily mistake one for another. Your information is presented within a single GUI, which means a customer support worker could easily mistake one type of insurance for the next. Even though complaints about this are in the minority, they are still common enough to think about.
- You do not get “Loss of use” coverage without signing up for Nationwide’s premium plan, which I only add as a downside because of peer pressure. Personally, I think that you should have to pay extra for loss of use coverage because it is a big expense for an insurance company.
- The quote you start with may not be the quote you end up with. Part of this is the fault of Nationwide and part is the fault of affiliate websites that give you a low quote to make you click their link, and then when you get to the Nationwide website you are hit with a larger quote after signing up.
- For some reason, people who stay with Nationwide seem to have their rates hiked. There are people who have been with them for 20 years and are now paying double what they would otherwise be paying. What is odd is that this is true no matter which state you live it. One wonders if their business model is to slowly exploit their regular customer’s loyalty bit by bit so that maybe the customers do not notice. Leave and then return over a year later for a better deal.
- Nationwide doesn’t keep good records, which has a number of unexpected consequences. A common one is to suddenly forget how much your house has been worth over the last ten years and make up a price based on “Market factors” while ignoring the actual price of replacing the house or the actual sale price of surrounding houses.
Best Homeowners Insurance – AllState
Allstate is the second-largest home insurer in the country, and part of the reason they are on this list is because they are a massive insurance company that is very likely to offer you coverage. Another reason is based on the fact that they deal with thousands of people person year, and yet despite the fact that their online reputation is poor, they are statistically pleasing more customers than they are annoying. Only a very small percentage of their customers have a problem with Allstate or their service.
Allstate – Pros
- Allstate has a time tested sign-up and claims processing procedure. There is little you can throw at them that they haven’t dealt with a thousand times before. If you wish to get the best possible results, then simply learn how the Allstate system works and take the time to learn how to deal with insurance companies in general. Allstate likes to color within the lines and follow the rules, so play them at their own game for the best results.
- There are numerous fair discounts you can earn when you use Allstate. There is a multi-policy discount that may save you as much as 30% on your total insurance costs, and there is a claim-free discount that may save you up to 20%. Plus, there is a starter discount and a new home buyer discount too.
- Allstate are a large company, which means they are more able and suited to offer a range of different types of home insurance. They do not only focus on low value houses, or apartments, etc. They will cover most types of home from a detached house to a mobile home.
- There is a short list of extra things that Allstate will cover that other insurance companies will not include in your policy. For example, there is scheduled property coverage that covers valuables that are damaged or stolen, water backup coverage, green improvement costs, electronic data recovery costs, and identity theft restoration.
- You are unlikely to see large delays because somebody on their side didn’t submit something or because of an administrative error or their side. Getting your claim paid is a slow process, but it is a predicable and bureaucratic one. I actually saw a negative review online saying that AllState’s correspondence is computer generated, but they should realize that such labor-saving methods are the reason why Allstate is able to charge lower prices. Do people really want a personal love letter from their insurance agent every few months? Or, to do they want low-cost and hassle-free insurance coverage.
- Allstate will raise your rates if you make a claim, but they are very fair in the way they do it. If the claim was your fault, then your rates go up. If the claim was your fault because you did something dumb, then your rates go up more. If you took all precautions and the actions of another person caused your problem, and you can prove it, then your rates will only creep up very slightly, unless your claim was a large one.
Allstate – Cons
- Allstate has a habit of raising your rates based on factors that do not involve you. For example, if numerous people who live near you are also Allstate customers and they have started making claims because they have been burgled, then your premiums are going to start jumping up through no fault of your own. In this case, you will have to negotiate with your insurance company to keep your rates low, and you should inquire as to what you can do to lower your rates (e.g. in the example’s case, you may like to install a security alarm and maybe even window bars).
- In many cases, you will not have to step in and take action with regards to your claim (other than doing as you are requested). However, there are occasions where the two insurance companies start arguing over who is responsible for whatever has happened, and if the other claimant/party is pushing his or her agenda, then you may have to step in. Allstate won’t be bulled by other parties, but things will stall if you do not get involved and maybe add more evidence showing that the other claimant/party was responsible for whatever happened.
- Allstate posts their own positive reviews online, which I know is a very common practice, but Allstate are very good at it. They don’t quote their own taglines or write overly long reviews. Instead, they do things such as place five and four star reviews and then give palatable and believable stories. One way to spot them is to look for user names that were made up quickly, such as KRW84 or mzh1987, and to be skeptical of reviewers who have posted just one or two reviews on the website.
- There are some websites that will offer you a quote from Allstate and have you click their link. You sign up with Allstate, and then they give you a quote that is much higher than your original. Despite the fact that this is immoral behavior by the affiliate website, Allstate could put a stop to it by paying affiliate websites when customers make a purchase and not when they sign up. There are times when Allstate will draw you in with a lower rate and then bump it up a little when they run a full credit search on you.
- Somehow, Allstate is allowing poor quality agents to slip the net and operate for far longer than they should. Either Allstate needs to fix up the amounts it pays agents so that they attract a better quality of agent, or they need to find a way of identifying and removing poor quality agents much more quickly.
- Be very careful when you take out your policy because Allstate may be able to get out of paying your claim if they can prove that your claim was due to negligence (which is quite common in the homeowner’s insurance industry), and they may be able to get out of paying if their evidence shows that your problem was per-existing. For example, they may send an inspector out to see your leaky pipe, and if it looks like the pipe was leaking prior to you taking out the policy, then Allstate will not pay you.
A Side Note About The Most Common Negative Reviews
I did take a look at online user reviews for the various insurance companies we tested to see if many other people had a different experience to our research team. There are many negative points in on user reviews that are not mentioned here, which includes negative points that a numb of people have mentioned in online user reviews.
I have always written that you should consider a negative review if it echos what other people have said via negative reviews, but that is not always sound advice when looking at user reviews for home insurance. This is because several reviews may make the same criticism, and yet they may all be unfair.
For example, you may see several reviews that say, “X insurance didn’t cover the damage my pitbull did,” when the insurance companies states in its terms and conditions that it doesn’t cover those breeds of dogs and where it is quite common for insurance companies not to cover certain breeds of dog.
Another common complaint is that the user’s insurance premiums went up after a claim, which is actually another rather common occurrence. Even if you made a claim and you will completely blameless (fault-free), your premium may still go up either right away or when you renew your policy.
We have been researching, testings and reviewing insurance companies for a long while, so we know which negative complaints are unfair and which are meaningful and justified. We have allowed unfair negative user reviews enter into our judgment of the insurance companies we were testing and reviewing. You may be a little disappointed that our review seems to feature very large and brand named insurers, but the fact is that they offer the best service for the broadest number of people. You should try local insurers and smaller insurers, but remember that large insurers became big for a reason, and their policies may be a better fit that what you find elsewhere.